Friday, May 29, 2020

The Digital Characteristics of Software Development

Software development is an engineering discipline with the right mix of art and science. 

With the increasing pace of changes and fierce competition, many IT organizations are doing more with App development and keep IT in a continuous delivery mode, to delight customers, and adapt to changes seamlessly.

Software Application development needs to bring up the most business value. Because the software has to be used in order to be valuable. Only customers can value the quality of the software. Here are the digital characteristics of software development.

Be more user-centric: The digital era upon us is about customer-centricity. The management needs to collect customers’ feedback such as: How is the end-user going to use your solution? Does the new solution help users do their work better than the current solution or do users all together have to change the way they perform their tasks by using this new system? Is the user interface delightful? Etc. In reality, when you try to implement user research, you almost always receive resistance since the staff view this as another activity that not only takes additional time but has already been done to some extent and the information already exists within sales/marketing or product management.

To improve software management effectiveness, the involvement of software development teams is really important. IT-enabled business solutions meet the customers’ criteria and clarify their concerns such as, what the users need it to do, the way they want to do it quickly, and accurately enough. You need to guide them through user research, build up the context of use, derive the concepts based on that information, test concepts with users, and make changes accordingly.

Be more interrelated: Due to the digital nature of hyperconnectivity and interdependence, software applications will become more interrelated as we move to a world of systems-of-systems in which constraints govern how and what we develop. The balanced IT application portfolio with more interrelated projects can deliver lots of value for the business in many ways. It’s the digital arena, IT applications, and its dynamics are totally different. The right IT applications blended with current digital trends such as the IT consumerization trend can deliver significant benefits to the business.

Generally, software development wants fewer software platforms, and for the ones they invest in, they want to adapt over time without frictional IT costs. They don't want to build themselves into a corner with coded proprietary solutions or have to glue many different software tools together that each cost time and money to maintain and support. Also, when it comes to enterprise software development, optimizing coding has huge economies in time, testing, tuning, re-working, integration, etc. In short, consolidation, integration, standardization, optimization, and innovation rule the game of software development in the digital era.

Be more intuitive: Many times, lack of user adoption is one of the issues to fail new software apps. The cool software products that are visible to the customer should be simple, intuitive, secure, reliable and predictable, fluently mixing the art and science to innovate the products or services and delight customers. An intuitive user interface can make high-quality software even more qualified. To improve software development productivity and maturity, machines, tools, and environments that programmers use will become more powerful, easy-to-use, and knowledge-base.

A major part of creating a user interface that is natural and intuitive is to make common system controls consistent throughout the development cycle, enforcing the "Intuition + Evidence-Based" design. Sometimes, the user will do the programming and the programmer will build the systems and infrastructure to enable this. The other challenge to overcome is the product development time. In many organizations, you try to fine-tune the development process to be more efficient and have a faster time-to-market benefit. A healthy design cycle is that you design the process, then model, execute, monitor, optimize then again back to design. It's a continuous improvement cycle.

The ultimate goal of software development is business problem-solving for either delighting customers or engaging employees. Software development is an engineering discipline with the right mix of art and science. The scientific side of engineering is for automation, reliability, and continuity; and the artistic side of engineering is about imagination, innovation, and invention, etc. Cool software products increase user productivity and improve customer satisfaction.


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